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Calgary, Alberta

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Calgary in Alberta.

 

Calgary is the largest city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately 80 km (50 mi) east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. The city is located in the Grassland region of Alberta.

Calgary is a destination for winter sports and ecotourism with a number of major mountain resorts near the city and metropolitan area. Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centred on the petroleum industry. Agriculture, tourism and high-tech industries also contribute to the city's economic growth. In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Olympic Winter Games.

Calgary is a modern city that retains much of its traditional culture of hotel saloons, western bars, night clubs, football and hockey. Calgary is the centre for country music in Canada, referred to by some as the "Nashville of the North."

Calgary also has a number of multicultural areas. Forest Lawn is among the most diverse areas in the city and as such, the area around 17 Avenue SE within the neighbourhood is also known as International Avenue. The district is home to many ethnic restaurants and stores.

While many Calgarians continue to live in the city's suburbs, more central districts such as 17 Avenue, Kensington, Inglewood, Forest Lawn, Marda Loop and the Mission District have become more popular and density in those areas has increased. The nightlife and the availability of cultural venues in these areas has gradually begun to evolve as a result.

The Calgary Public Library (CPL) is the city's public library network, with 17 branches loaning books, e-books, CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays, audio books, and more. Based on borrowing, the CPL is the second largest in Canada, and sixth largest municipal library system in North America. Nonetheless, the CPL ranks 24th in Canadian per capita municipal funding, according to the Urban Libraries Council.

Calgary is the site of the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium performing arts, culture and community facility. The auditorium is one of two "twin" facilities in the province, the other located in Edmonton, each being locally known as the "Jube." The 2,538-seat auditorium was opened in 1957[41] and has been host to hundreds of Broadway musical, theatrical, stage and local productions. The Calgary Jube is the resident home of the Alberta Ballet, the Calgary opera, the Kiwanis Music Festival, and the annual civic Remembrance Day ceremonies. Both auditoriums operate 365 days a year, and are run by the provincial government. Both received major renovations as part of the province's centennial in 2005.

Calgary is also home to a number of theatre companies; among them are One Yellow Rabbit, which shares the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects and Theatre Junction Grand, culture house dedicated for the contemporary live arts. Calgary was also the birthplace of the improvisational theatre games known as Theatresports. The Calgary International Film Festival is also held in the city annually, as well as the International Festival of Animated Objects.

Visual and conceptual artists like the art collective United Congress are active in the city. There are a number of art galleries in the downtown, many of them concentrated along the Stephen Avenue and 17 Avenue corridors. The largest of these is the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC).

A number of marching bands are based in Calgary. They include the Calgary Round-Up Band, the Calgary Stetson Show Band, the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts, and the two-time World Association for Marching Show Bands champions, the Calgary Stampede Showband, as well as military bands including the Band of HMCS Tecumseh, the Regimental Band of the King's Own Calgary Regiment, and the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders. There are many other civilian pipe bands in the city, notably the Calgary Police Service Pipe Band.

Calgary hosts a number of annual festivals and events. These include the Calgary International Film Festival, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, FunnyFest Calgary Comedy Festival, the Folk Music Festival, the Greek Festival, Carifest, Wordfest Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival, the Lilac Festival, GlobalFest, the Calgary Fringe Festival, Summerstock, Expo Latino, Calgary Gay Pride, Calgary International Spoken Word Festival, and many other cultural and ethnic festivals. Calgary's best-known event is the Calgary Stampede, which has occurred each July since 1912. It is one of the largest festivals in Canada, with a 2005 attendance of 1,242,928 at the 10-day rodeo and exhibition.

Several museums are located in the city. The Glenbow Museum is the largest in western Canada and includes an art gallery and first nations gallery. Other major museums include the Chinese Cultural Centre (at 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2), the largest stand-alone cultural centre in Canada), the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Museum (at Canada Olympic Park), The Military Museums, the Cantos Music Museum and the Aero Space Museum.

The Calgary area also draws filmmakers. Numerous motion pictures have been filmed in the general area. The Tom Selleck picture Crossfire Trail was shot on a ranch near Calgary though the stated setting of the film is Wyoming.

The Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun are the main newspapers in Calgary. Global, Citytv, CTV and CBC television networks have local studios in the city.

Sports and recreation

In large part due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, Calgary has traditionally been a popular destination for winter sports. Since hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, the city has also been home to a number of major winter sporting facilities such as Canada Olympic Park (luge, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, downhill skiing, snowboarding, and some summer sports) and the Olympic Oval (speed skating and hockey). These facilities serve as the primary training venues for a number of competitive athletes. Also, Canada Olympic Park serves as a mountain biking trail in the summer months.

In the summer, the Bow River is very popular among fly-fishermen. Golfing is also an extremely popular activity for Calgarians and the region has a large number of courses.

Calgary hosted the 2009 World Water Ski Championship Festival in August, at the Predator Bay Water Ski Club which is situated approximately 40 km south of the city.

As part of the wider Battle of Alberta, the city's sports teams enjoy a popular rivalry with their Edmonton counterparts, most notably the rivalries between the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, and the Canadian Football League's Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos.

The city also has a large number of urban parks including Fish Creek Provincial Park, Nose Hill Park, Bowness Park, Edworthy Park, the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary, Confederation Park, and Prince's Island Park. Nose Hill Park is the largest municipal park in Canada. Connecting these parks and most of the city's neighbourhoods is one of the most extensive multi-use (walking, bike, rollerblading, etc.) path systems in North America.

Attractions

Downtown features an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars, cultural venues, public squares (including Olympic Plaza) and shopping. Notable shopping areas include such as The Core Shopping Centre (formerly Calgary Eaton Centre/TD Square), Stephen Avenue and Eau Claire Market. Downtown tourist attractions include the Calgary Zoo, the Telus World of Science, the Telus Convention Centre, the Chinatown district, the Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Tower, the Art Gallery of Calgary (AGC) and the EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts. At 2.5 acres (1.01 ha), the Devonian Gardens is one of the largest urban indoor gardens in the world, and it is located on the 4th floor of TD Square (above the shopping). The downtown region is also home to Prince's Island Park, an urban park located just north of the Eau Claire district. Directly to the south of downtown is Midtown and the Beltline. This area is quickly becoming one of the city's densest and most active mixed use areas. At the district's core is the popular "17 Avenue", which is known for its many bars and nightclubs, restaurants, and shopping venues. During the Calgary Flames' playoff run in 2004, 17 Avenue was frequented by over 50,000 fans and supporters per game night. The concentration of red jersey-wearing fans led to the street's playoff moniker, the "Red Mile." Downtown is easily accessed using the city's C-Train light rail (LRT) transit system.

Attractions on the west side of the city include the Heritage Park Historical Village historical park, depicting life in pre-1914 Alberta and featuring working historic vehicles such as a steam train, paddlewheel boat and electric streetcar. The village itself comprises a mixture of replica buildings and historic structures relocated from southern Alberta. Other major city attractions include Canada Olympic Park, and Spruce Meadows. In addition to the many shopping areas in the city centre, there are a number of large suburban shopping complexes in the city. Among the largest are Chinook Centre and Southcentre Mall in the south, WestHills and Signal Hill in the southwest, South Trail Crossing and Deerfoot Meadows in the southeast, Market Mall in the northwest, Sunridge Mall in the northeast, and the newly built CrossIron Mills just north of the Calgary city limits, and south of the City of Airdrie.

Downtown can be recognized by its numerous skyscrapers. Some of these structures, such as the Calgary Tower and the Scotiabank Saddledome are unique enough to be symbols of Calgary. Office buildings tend to concentrate within the commercial core, while residential towers occur most frequently within the Downtown West End and the Beltline, south of downtown. These buildings are iconographic of the city's booms and busts, and it is easy to recognize the various phases of development that have shaped the image of downtown. The first skyscraper building boom occurred during the late 1950s and continued through to the 1970s. After 1980, during the recession, many high-rise construction projects were immediately halted. It was not until the late 1980s and through to the early 1990s that major construction began again, initiated by the 1988 Winter Olympics and stimulated by the growing economy.

In total, there are 10 office towers that are at least 150 metres (500 ft) (usually around 40 floors) or higher. The tallest of these is the Suncor Energy Centre (formerly known as the Petro-Canada Centre), which is the tallest office tower in Canada outside Toronto. Calgary's Bankers Hall Towers are also the tallest twin towers in Canada. Several larger office towers are planned for downtown: The Bow, Jamieson Place, Eighth Avenue Place (two towers), Centennial Place (two towers), City Centre (two towers), and the highly anticipated (although only rumoured) Imperial Oil and First Canadian Centre II towers. As of 2008, there were 264 completed high-rise buildings, with 42 more under construction, another 13 approved for construction and 63 more proposed.

To connect many of the downtown office buildings, the city also boasts the world's most extensive skyway network (elevated indoor pedestrian bridges), officially called the +15. The name derives from the fact that the bridges are usually 15 feet (4.6 m) above grade.

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